AzHHA launches Arizona Transition to Practice Program New program aims to tackle Arizona’s severe nursing shortage

Published by The Bee News

November 28, 2023

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Phoenix, Ariz. (Nov. 28, 2023) – The State of Arizona and the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHHA), an organization that brings together diverse voices to advance health and healthcare in Arizona, announced today it is launching the Arizona Transition to Practice Program for New Graduate Registered Nurses.

“I’m thrilled AHCCCS and AzHHA have come together to support our healthcare workforce and ensure Arizonans are getting the best care possible,” said Governor Katie Hobbs. “Our state faces a nursing shortage, making it now more important than ever that we invest in training and professional development opportunities. Together, we can build our workforce and guarantee every Arizonan has access to affordable and quality healthcare.”

“As we focus on increasing our nursing pipeline in Arizona, it is important we address the gaps that new graduate registered nurses experience as they transition from academia to practice,” said Ann-Marie Alameddin, president and CEO of AzHHA. “Developing a standardized Arizona Transition to Practice Program will create an environment where our nurses gain the confidence, competence and resiliency they need to provide the best possible quality care to our communities.”

AHCCCS contracted with AzHHA to assist with the administration and implementation of the Arizona Transition to Practice Program to support and develop new nurses, provide evidence-based professional development, accelerate the novice nurse to a competent nurse more rapidly, and address resilience and emergency preparedness. This is a critical step towards tackling Arizona’s nursing shortage.

“With more than two million Arizonans currently enrolled in Medicaid, AHCCCS recognizes its role in helping to strengthen the state’s health care workforce,” said Carmen Heredia, AHCCCS cabinet executive officer. “This program will accelerate the competency of new graduates and help attract and retain high quality nurses in our state.”

Projections show that Arizona will have the largest nurse shortage by 2025 with 28,100 fewer registered nurses than necessary. The launch of this program will help promote the overall retention of new graduate registered nurses statewide in Arizona.

AzHHA has partnered with a national vendor, OpusVi (Latin for workforce), who has developed a transition to practice program that enables healthcare systems and organizations to upskill and retain top talent, to implement a statewide 12-month Arizona Transition to Practice Program. Arizona healthcare facilities licensed by ADHS that hire new graduate registered nurses are eligible to apply for the program. However, hospitals with existing 12-month Transition to Practice programs are not eligible.

“Priority will be given to critical access hospitals or hospitals located in counties with populations of less than 500,000 people to ensure that areas with the most critical workforce shortages are able to retain their new nurses,” said Alameddin.

This program is supported by HB2691, passed in June 2022, under the leadership former Rep. Joanne Osborne, who was the sponsor of the bill. A limited number of new graduate nurses will be accepted per year into the program. AzHHA will open applications and start a new cohort four times per year. Applications are now open for qualified facilities to apply. Application details are available on AzHHA’s website at https://www.azhha.org/transition_to_practice_program.

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